Only Requirement to Come to our Church. Do you, or have you ever taken a breath…

28  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29  Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG) 

“I was once asked by a young man with a myriad of tattoos if he could watch a pre-school graduation service (in our sanctuary) from the front doors of my church. SHocked I asked him why he wouldn’t just come in and grab a seat up front. (he was early)  I was shocked to hear him say he didn’t think he would be allowed in with all the tattoos and his past.
So let me be clear – if you have a past – you are more than welcome here.
If you have a present… you are welcome here… 
If you don’t know about your future… you are welcome here.
This congregation has seen God at work in all types of people, through all types of trauma, as we are gathered together by God.
So come on this morning to Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, come in, grab a seat… and know that God is with you….”  (facebook post 9/1/2013)

43 likes to the above simple invitation to church that I posted on FB ….I am a feeling little overwhelmed.

I know quite a few pastors, priests and ministers here in socal, and around the US and the world. There are more like me in this than not…one of the challenges for pastors and priests is waiting to see Christ’s heart develop in our people. We want our people to see every other human being as those who Christ.  We want to see the prostitute, the tax collector, the politician, the gossip, the music star who acts like a harlot, and yeah… the worse sinners of all.. us,… all gathered around the altar, all rejoicing in what Christ has done in our lives, and in bringing us together…

The challenge is to see all people in need of Christ’s grace, in need of His love, in need of healing of that which is broken inside us. That is as true for the first time visitor with a dark past, as it is for the elder whose been in leadership for longer than we can remember. I think, sometimes it takes longer for people to change who have been around a while… or perhaps the change isn’t as noticeable. Or perhaps because we expect others to be more mature in Christ…we are less tolerant? Not sure…. just sure all need Jesus, just sure we all need to know how patient Jesus is with each of us.  And if we are ministering on His behalf… how patient we need to be with each other.

The thing is, it is not what a pastor/priests/deacon/minister says that causes the transformation in any of us. It’s not something we can plan or put on a schedule. It is the Holy Spirit, working through word and sacrament.  It is the grace that is poured out, the faith and trust we are given that grows as we learn of His promises, the love that has to be empowered within us… and can only be empowered, when at our weakest, we find Him, loving us, feeding us, repairing what we have managed to break within us, or what the world has crushed….  and again, we all need that.

If you breath*, you are welcome at the church I pastor. We welcome everyone here… including pastors…

Like I said – it doesn’t matter where you have been, or where you are, even now.  Simply put… all of us are damaged by life, by our decisions, by the crap we have to deal with…. and here is a place where we see God dealing with it, lifting our burdens and placing them on Christ…. that we can live… that we can “learned the unforced rhythms of grace”…that we can walk with God… not just here..but throughout our lives.


* Note:  If you recently stopped breathing – your still welcome here one more time.  We’ll tell people about God’s love and faithfulness to you, feed them, comfort them, help them know God’s peace…….let them know Jesus is there for them as well.


About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on September 2, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You could be writing about me and our congregation. Good words, Dustin. Thanks.

  2. This is lovely! Can I repost this on my face book page? Oh my goodness, what a wonderful email this is! Heidi

    • Heidi –
      I have no problem with my posts being re-blogged and shared. The one comment – I ask that it be posted with out changes – or if needed – you identify the changes from the original.
      If you want to credit my blog to protect the innocent..(you) that’s preferable! (that way you don’t get crucified for my thoughts…)

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Pastor DT, I feel the same welcome at Good Shepherd in Yucca Valley!!! It’s glorious to see myself and others through the eyes of Christ even tho I know I fail miserably at times. (probably most of the time.)

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